Additional Information on the return of the Berlin Singakademie Archives
- I have been recovering from a bad chest cold, and I am behind on reading the
postings to the lists. I therefore apologize if this information, which was
forwarded to me by the superb 'cellist James Kreger, is redundant.
I also ask your indulgence for the inevitable "cross posting".
In a message dated 1/29/01 12:58:16 AM Eastern Standard Time, JB Kreger
<< The German Press and Information Office informs: <<...>>
Return of "war trophies"
During his visit to Berlin on 19 January 2001 Ukrainian President Leonid
Kutchma presented Chancellor Gerhard Schröder a volume of handwritten
scores by Johann Sebastian Bach taken from archive materials removed to
Kiev in the wake of the Second World War. A protocol was signed
regarding the return of the complete Bach archive.
The return of this material is based on an internationally agreed
obligation for both sides to give cultural objects removed as a result
of war back to the respective other side.
In doing so Ukraine is continuing to pursue a path based on European
legal traditions; like Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan it is among the
leading proponents of a policy on the return of cultural objects based
on international law.
What is involved is the long lost musical estate of Johann Sebastian
Bach's second son, Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach, which was rediscovered in
Kiev, where it is preserved as part of the music archive of the Berlin
"Sing-Akademie"; the material was discovered by Harvard Professor
Christoph Wolff in the department of literature and arts of the Kiev
State Archives in June 1999.
The archive was moved from Berlin to Ullersdorf Castle in Silesia in
1943 to protect it against bomb attacks; from there the Soviet
authorities had it taken to the Soviet Union. Its most important focus
is the 18th century, particularly the repertoire of the Royal Prussian
Orchestra and the Royal Opera in Berlin from the period of Frederick the
Great, including works by the brothers C.H. and J.G. Graun, by the
brothers G. and F. Benda, as well as by Telemann, Händel, Mozart, and
Of particular importance among the materials found is the Bach
collection, formerly believed lost, consisting of about 400 manuscripts
by Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach, 17 manuscripts of works by Johann
Sebastian Bach, 29 by his eldest son Wilhelm Friedemann Bach, as well as
the "Old Bach Archive" consisting of 27 manuscripts. Some of these works
have never been published. The rediscovery of this archive material has
once again opened up irreplaceable historical resources to musicologists.